If you experience flushing (blushing) of the face that does not go away, or have bumps on your cheeks that resemble acne, you might have a medical condition known as rosacea.
It often begins with a tendency to blush or flush more than other people, and may become progressively worse if not treated. If you suspect you have rosacea, it is important to see your physician for diagnosis and treatment.
Once diagnosed, a good skin care regimen will help support the measures you are taking to manage the condition, and that is where your skin therapist comes in. The right skin care products can help calm inflammation and prevent flare-ups. Facial treatments should always be very gentle, calming, soothing, and cooling, and should employ Lymph Drainage Therapy (LDT) to ease inflammation and detoxify the skin. (see below)
So What is Rosacea?
Rosacea is primarily a disorder of the facial blood vessels. The origin is unknown and to date there is no cure. Blood vessels become hyper-responsive to a wide range of stimuli, such as physical exertion, sun exposure, hormonal shifts, stress, alcohol, smoking, and some foods, especially spicy foods.
It usually begins with mild flushing that goes away. But over time, with repeated exposure to triggering stimuli, the facial capillaries may become permanently dilated and damaged. In extreme cases, left untreated, a condition called rhinophyma may occur. This is excess tissue growth on the nose, and is a form of lymphedema (think W.C. Fields). Rosacea can also spread to the eyes (ocular rosacea) which, if untreated, may affect vision so it is important to seek medical attention if symptoms are present.
Who Gets Rosacea?
It seems to affect mostly (although not limited to) those of Celtic or Nordic descent, who are prone to allergies, asthma, or eczema and have a genetic predisposition. It commonly occurs between the ages 30 – 50 and affects more women than men. Women tend to get it on cheeks and chin. Menopause is a common trigger in women. Men tend to get it on the nose and rhinophyma is more commonly seen in men.
How is it Treated?
Unfortunately Rosacea is often misdiagnosed as acne vulgaris or contact dermatitis, especially when papules or pustles are present. Acne is entirely different in its origins and treatment and acne treatments will actually make rosacea worse.
Since rosacea cannot be cured, medical treatment and management is the best approach. Your doctor may prescribe topical medication and/or oral antibiotics. She may also recommend medical light-based or laser treatments.
Identifying and avoiding the stimuli that trigger flareups is essential to the proper management of rosacea. Harsh skin care products, exfoliators, and hot water cleansing are to be avoided. Retin-A, retinols, hydroxy acids, and acne products will likely worsen rosacea. It is critical to avoid products that cause irritation, burning, or stinging. Ingredients to look for in skin care include such things as aloe, allantoin, arnica, avena sativa (oat), beta glucan, canadian willowherb, coneflower, chamomile, ginkgo, green tea, and licorice.
Dermalogica’s Ultracalming products are designed to treat the multiple triggers behind inflammation for lasting relief. UltraCalming™ Complex, is an exclusive complex clinically proven to control neurogenic and immunogenic inflammatory pathways that lead to skin sensitivity.
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Lymph Drainage Therapy for Rosacea
Lymph Drainage Therapy (LDT) aka Manual Lymph Drainage, is a methodology practiced by physical therapists and massage therapists and may be helpful in the treatment of rosacea. It is intensely relaxing and consists of very gentle, rhythmic movements that improve the efficiency of the lymphatic system – the body’s waste disposal system. It stimulates and increases the rate of removal of waste products, toxins and excess fluids from the skin and other body tissues. LDT can increase the lymphatic flow up to 10X the normal rate, which means the skin gets premium nutrition and improved detoxification. The good news is that a qualified LDT practitioner can teach you how to do it at home. It takes some practice but is well worth the time invested in learning to do it properly.
Consult with your skin therapist for a comprehensive skin analysis and recommendations for proper skin care at home.
Here is a partial list of resources to help you understand and manage Rosacea: